Being a parent of a toddler, it can be busy lifestyle and things may not always go as planned! With this being said, we know that children may get sick easily or may show symptoms that can be unfamiliar. If your toddler seems under the weather with a fever and a white tongue, this could be a result of an illness.
According to the CDC, Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus can present itself in many ways. This type of bacteria can cause several types of infections like strep throat and skin infections. In particular, the bacterium produces a toxin, which creates a red “scarlet” rash on the skin.
Common symptoms of scarlet fever may include:
- A very red, sore throat
- A fever (101° F or above)
- A red rash with a sandpaper feel
- Bright red skin in the creases of the underarm, elbow, and groin
- A whitish coating on the tongue
- A “strawberry” (red and bumpy) tongue
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Other general symptoms include:
- Headache or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
Out of all these symptoms, the most common ones are a red rash that resembles a sunburn and feels like sandpaper. Red lines around the armpits, elbows, knees, and neck and a flushed face with a pale ring around the mouth may also occur. A strawberry tongue which looks red and bumpy and covered in white coating early on is perhaps the most widely seen symptom of scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever is more common in children ages 5 to 15 than older people and its germs spread more easily among family members, classmates, and others who often come in close contact with one another. Treating scarlet fever is essential because left untreated, the bacteria may make its way to the tonsils, lungs, kidneys, and skin.
To test for scarlet fever, a medical professional will most likely administer a strep test. The test will involve a swabbing of the throat and will be tested in a lab to identify if the group A Streptococcus is causing the illness. If the results come back positive, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics necessary for treating the scarlet fever. The antibiotics will help to make your little one get to feeling better much sooner and can prevent others from getting sick as well.
Fortunately, there are ways you can help your child prevent scarlet fever and the discomfort it often brings. First and foremost, show your child how to wash their hands thoroughly with warm soapy water after they use the restroom or eat a meal. Also, discourage your child from sharing utensils or food with classmates or friends. In addition, help them get in the habit of covering their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing to prevent them from potentially spreading germs.
Some may not be aware that yeast can occur in the mouth. Yeast infections termed oral thrush can cause the tongue to have a white coating. White patches on the insides of the lips, cheeks and gums may be possible as well.
Children with a compromised immune system as a result of an underlying medical condition may experience thrush to occur, although it is more common in babies under that age of one. It is important to understand that oral thrush can be treated with an oral anti-yeast medication.
There are also ways you can help your child prevent oral thrush. Encourage them to brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily. Also, bring them to the dentist at least every 6 months or so for a regular exam and cleaning. Additionally, try to limit the amount of sugar-filled foods your child eats as these foods can promote the growth of candida.
While anyone can experience oral thrush, it is more widely seen in babies and seniors because they have a weaker immune system. It is a minor problem in people who are healthy but can be serious and difficult to control for anyone with a weakened immune system.
What You Can Do:
If you notice that your toddler is running a fever and has a white tongue, it would be in your best interest to consult with your pediatrician immediately. If they believe that an illness is likely, an appointment may need to be scheduled. If the pediatrician believes that your toddler’s symptoms may be a result of an oral health issue it may be recommended that you meet with a pediatric dentist for further examining.
If you have this issue in 2019, remember, help is available. You can contact your primary physician or you can call a reputable pediatric dentist in your local area. As one of the top pediatric dental offices in the Ashburn and Washington, DC area, we will do our best to help you remedy this issue.
The Pediatric Dental Office for Your Toddler
At Little Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we gladly welcome new patients to our office! If you have not yet established care for your toddler with a pediatric dentist, we would love to treat all of their oral health needs. For more information please feel free to contact us or give us a call at 703-348-2813.